Contract Details From Detroit

Mark Stryker at the Detroit Free Press had an article published today which sheds some light on the details surrounding Detroit’s home-stretch settlement. All in all, it looks like both sides gave just as much as they got…

The article reports that the players were able to obtain one of their most important positions, minimum weekly salary which increases to $104,650 by the third and final year of the new agreement, but only after concessions that require five unpaid furlough weeks (3 in year one and 2 in year two). The musicians also retained their 52-week status, another crucial benchmark among professional orchestras.

Detroit’s management was able to obtain greater cost control measures by having the musicians accept concessions on their benefits. For example, musicians will have to begin contributing to the costs of their health care benefits and incoming musicians will no long have the option of selecting which of the two pension plans the DSO currently maintains.

More details are certain to follow once the Detroit musicians complete their ICSOM settlement bulletin.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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